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Xanatos Gambit / Anime & Manga

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  • In Assassination Classroom, Karma attempts to pull one off to kill Korosensei. Knowing Korosensei as a teacher cannot allow any harm to come to his students, Karma planned to jump off a cliff with an Anti-Sensei gun to shoot his teacher when Korosensei came to save him. However, even if Korosensei managed to evade the shot, Karma would still have achieved his goal as Korosensei would 'die' as a teacher for having allowed Karma to die. This is subverted when Korosensei saves Karma by making a web out of his tentacles, coated with sticky mucus so when Karma fell into it, his arms were pinned down making him unable to shoot.
  • Astro Boy:
    • Creating Pluto was this for Tenma. Either Astro losses or evolves and becomes stronger. He's perfectly happy either way. When Pluto instead has a Heel–Face Turn, Shadow reveals he has another robot in the wing, Archeron, who has no emotions.
    • Skunk has one early on. He uses robots to hunt other robots and sell their parts on the black market. He hid his home base in a abandoned ice cream factory and here's where the gambit comes in. If no one finds him, he can continue unbothered but hopes Astro does find him because he has a trap set up.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • No matter the outcome of the 57th Expedition beyond the wall, Erwin won. If they succeeded in capturing the Female Titan, not only would the Survey Corps eliminate a major threat, they would have learn more about any spies in their ranks. If they didn't succeed, Erwin would still be able to identify the infiltrators(and by extension the Female Titan).
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    • Also Erwin's plan to capture the Female Titan a second time. If the suspect didn't help, Eren would have escaped while Jean took his place. If the suspect did help, they would have lured them into the trap. If the suspect was a false lead, they would use the tunnel to smuggle and hide Eren. If the suspect was correctly identified, they had people waiting to ambush her. If the Female Titan transformed, Eren and the Survey Corps would fight and try to capture her again. If they failed to capture her, they just exposed a spy. If they captured her, then they could use that as a reason to not execute Eren.
  • In Black Lagoon, the crew find themselves a part of one such gambit. An old ex-Nazi finds out about a valuable painting from the war (one possibly painted by Hitler himself) in a sunken submarine. He tasks a Neo-Nazi group, who want his connections and funding, to salvage it and hires the Lagoon Company through an intermediary to do the same job. Neither group knows about the other. If the Nazis defeat the Lagoon Company, he gets the painting and knows the Neo-Nazi group is competent and worthy of his further patronage. If the Lagoon Company wins, he gets the painting and does not have to help incompetents. The only thing he didn't count on was for Dutch and Rock to figure out they were being played, but since the crew needs the money for the job (and because their reputation would plummet if they betrayed an employer) they can't do anything about it.
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  • Bleach: Yhwach absorbs the strength and powers of anyone who dies. If his Sternritter army defeats the Soul Reapers, he wins. If the Sternritters lose, he'll take their strength and wipe out the Soul Reapers anyway.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Aleister is under a curse that makes him fail at everything he attempts. To achieve his goals in spite of this, he sets up a Xanatos Gambit of monumental proportions that could take over a thousand years to fully unfold depending on how events play out, containing plots within plots and many backup plans, wherein success or failure at each individual step will propel events towards the same inevitable conclusion no matter what.
  • Code Geass uses this trope now and then, to varying degrees.
    • An early one is Schneizel — he faces the terrorist leader, Zero, in a chess match in which the victor will gain a valuable prize. If Schneizel wins, Zero has to unmask himself (something that would greatly disadvantage Zero). If Zero wins, he gains Suzaku, The Dragon to Schneizel, who up until this point has been a massive Heel to Zero. During the match, Lelouch fears this trope when Schneizel deliberately sets himself up to lose, believing that Schneizel is attempting to make this trope and that by losing, Schneizel will also gain an advantage. As a result, Zero intentionally avoids winning the game. This turns out to be his downfall, as Schneizel claims that the Emperor would have instantly seized victory, giving Schneizel some insight to Zero's true identity without even needing to win the match and forcing Zero to unmask himself.
    • So to summarize: If Schneizel wins, he learns the identity of a super-terrorist.. If Zero won, Schneizel would more-or-less have his enemy surrounded by a number of armed guards. What happened, Schneizel baited Zero into losing and learned something about him, allowing him to get part of what he wanted and due to Nina's interruption barring Zero from his prize.
    • In Season 2, Lelouch pulls an even more devious one (combined with a Kansas City Shuffle, see the entry on that page) to recruit Rolo to his side: He geasses a Britannian sniper to shoot Rolo, and Lelouch plans to push Rolo out of the way to show he "cares" for his fake brother. If Lelouch fails in pushing Rolo out of the way in time, he removes a threat to himself. If he does and Rolo buys it, he gains a powerful new pawn. Further, Word of God says that if Rolo hadn't bought it and had tried to kill Lelouch or CC immediately afterwards, the sniper had already been geassed to keep shooting till Rolo was dead.
    • A particularly brilliant one in R2 involves an agreement with the Britannian government to let the Black Knights (Zero's organization) go unpunished and dissolve in exchange for getting Zero permanently exiled from Area Eleven. The event will be heavily publicized, and one million Elevens arrive to watch. However, Zero refuses to show himself and creates a massive smokescreen that lasts for only a few seconds. Once it dissipates, the entire crowd is wearing a Zero costume. Since the agreement is to banish Zero and there are now one million of them, the Britannians can choose to a) stay true to their word and release all one million people dressed as Zero, thus letting him keep his power base in another country, or b) go back on their promise and slaughter them all, essentially repeating the Euphemia massacre, which will not only further incite rebellion among the Elevens, but also severely damage Britannia's reputation and credibility with the world's other two superpowers. Either way, Zero wins. Suzaku allows all of the Zero impersonators to leave.
    • Charles' actual plan all along: his rule of expansionism is really a cover for his Assimilation Plot. He has already gained access to all Thought Elevators, and by the second season, an Immortality Code, leaving the final outcome of the war between Britannia and the rest of the world inconsequential to him, which he freely admits, as he's on the brink of his final goal. He nearly pulls it off, only for his son Lelouch to interfere by geassing the equivalent of God, which has the effect of erasing both his parents who were together on the plan.
  • Cowboy Bebop: This is how Vicious takes over the Red Dragon Syndicate. He attempts a coup d'etat on the elders of the Syndicate after he found out Spike was still alive. While Vicious would have been happy with success, he expected to fail. He indeed fails to assassinate the elders, and gets sentenced to death. But he stacks the execution squad with his own men, who gun the elders down for real.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure Myotismon goes into the real world, sending the DigiDestined and their Digimon back home to fight him and his henchmen in hopes of saving both worlds. Yet their absence in the Digital World during this time is what allows the four Dark Masters to take over, who, as Mega-level Digimon, turn out to be much more formidable villains than the Ultimate-level Myotismon.
    • In the beginning of the final arc of Digimon Adventure 02, this was the first step of Owikawa (actually Myotismon)'s plan. He opened Digiportals around the world, allowing Digimon and control spires to appear everywhere across the earth. If the control spires remained intact, they would alter the boundaries of the Digital World from the human side and allow him to cross over. However, if the Digidestined left Japan to go around the world and undo the damage, Owikawa and his minions could use the time they were gone to kidnap appropriate children to be implanted with dark spores.
    • Digimon Frontier Mercurymon's plan when he put the Chosen Children in his Beast Spirit form. He pits them against various opponents while recording every attack used and gaining the ability to use it himself. If the opponents he has set up win, fine. The children win, he gains the power to use whatever attacks he saw them use and immunity to the attack. Even the defeat of ShadowSeraphimon and his Human Spirit, something he didn't count on, worked in his favor because of this. The only reason he failed to kill them was because he spent so much time toying with them that by accident Takuya finds out that they can use a Combination Attack against him. This falls out of any plausible outcome since even the children didn't know they could do that before and found out by accident.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, Bagramon's plan is this. He wants to take over the Digital World, which has been divided into 108 different Zones, represented by the Code Crown. He gathers an army to take the Code Crown fragments from everyone, but several Digimon start fighting back, some of them summoning humans to fight him. So he sits back and does nothing, allowing them to gather all the Code Crown pieces, while bringing a human into the Digital World himself so that they can be gathered faster. Once the Code Crown is assembled, Bagramon immediately steals it, while at the same time his top henchmon Tactimon winds up in the human world, showing Bagramon how to reach it. Then step two of his plan begins. He uses the Code Crown to merge all the Zones into Lands, ruled by his Death Generals, who are instructed to turn each Land into a living hell, allowing him to absorb the despair of their inhabitants and funnel it into the Code Crown. As this happens, the last human Generals are running around fighting his rule, but that's okay, because they still can't beat the Death Generals on their own. And should the Death Generals actually be beaten (which is what happened), the negative energy from their deaths would still be enough to initiate D5.
  • Dragon Ball Super: This turns out to be the real reason for The Tournament of Power. The Zenos announce that 8 of the 12 universes must compete in it and any universes that lose will be automatically erased. Meanwhile, one member of the winning universe will be granted a wish on the super dragon balls, which have no limits to the wishes they can grant. It turns out that the Zenos are hoping that the winner of the tournament will be someone with a virtuous heart and will give up the opportunity to have anything they want, instead using the wish to resurrect all the universes erased during the tournament. This act of selflessness, apparently defying the Zenos, shows that universes are indeed capable of change and growth, since the Zenos said that the weaker universes were being erased because there has been a lack of change and development recently. This also serves as a wake up call to the erased universes, showing that they can be erased and must get their universes in better shape ASAP, and shows the 4 exempt universes that they still have work to do as well, since they see how strong the beings from "weaker" universes are. On the other hand, if a selfish wish had been made, the Zenos would have simply erased everything on the spot, including the exempt universes. Either way, whether a selfless wish or selfish wish was made, the Zenos would still get to have their entertainment by watching the tournament and seeing so many cool fighters and techniques, and the end result would mean they no longer need to worry about the mortals, for better or for worse.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza's plan to destroy the Saiyans and ensure that the Legendary Super Saiyan is never born to oppose his reign. If Bardock was successful in convincing the Saiyan Army, Frieza already had an army of his own that was greater in depth and in strength to that of the Saiyan's, even if he personally didn't bother to join the fight (and his power level without transforming was over 500,000. The strongest Saiyan at that time was King Vegeta, who had a power level of 10,000 which was nowhere near that of any of Frieza's elite soldiers, so if the two armies were to clash, Frieza's army would come on out top, no question; if Bardock was unsuccessful in getting the Saiyans to believe that Frieza was planning on killing them all, which he was, then the job of ensuring that every Saiyan was killed was made even easier because nobody would or could prevent it. In short, it didn't matter whether or not the Saiyans, or Bardock himself alone, attempted to stop Frieza from killing them all, because either way all the Saiyans would have been killed by either Frieza himself or by Frieza's Army and the possibility of the Legendary Super Saiyan becomes non-existent, it was a win-win scenario for Frieza no matter what happened.
    • The entire battle between Vegito and Super Buu was this. It didn't matter what Super Buu threw at Vegito as he had a back up plan or counter strategy for anything. Any outcome in that fight would have suited Vegito, if Super Buu turns Vegito into candy, Vegito still retains his power, as he is much stronger than Super Buu, and it just makes Vegito a harder target to destroy, if Super Buu absorbs Vegito then it becomes easier for Vegito to remove his sons and friends from Super Buu's body and depower him and if Super Buu tries to kill Vegito... Vegito would instantly slaughter him. Of course, while that option would be just as effective, it would have been personally immoral for Vegito as he would be unconsciously murdering his own sons and friends. And while they could be brought back to life with the Dragon Balls, Vegito would still have somewhat of a heavy conscience for what he did.
  • Subverted in Durarara!!. After Izaya's failure to kill Shizuo due to the interference of Celty, he decides to employ a desperate gambit. He does this by running into a large crowd with Shizuo hellbent on killing him and they engage in a fight. As lampshaded by Aoba, if Izaya manages to beat Shizuo, then he's achieved his goal. Conversely, if Shizuo defeats him and kills Izaya in front of everyone, then society will reject him, and Izaya still wins. Unfortunately, Izaya did not plan for Vorona's intervention by shooting him to prevent Shizuo from doing the deed. However, thanks to Simon, neither Shizuo nor Vorona deliver the coup-de-grâce and Izaya does survive, if barely.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World has one; Princess Fatora was kidnapped and then rescued just so that the heroes would use her to unseal the Forgotten Superweapon...the other Forgotten Superweapon. (The villains' backup plan was to simply use her to unseal it themselves.)
  • In Eyeshield21, Hiruma's trick plays are made of this trope, to the point where almost any failure OR success contributes in some way to setting up the next play, which might in turn be setting up yet another, etc. It gets to the point where even anticipating a trap within a trap still lands you in a third trap.
  • In Fairy Tail, Zeref eventually decides that humans are beyond saving and need to be wiped out. He announces his desire to exterminate humanity in front of Mavis Vermillion, knowing that she and her allies will do everything in their power to stop him. Since he's a Death Seeker as well, this works out perfectly. He will destroy humanity, or they will destroy him. Either way, he gets something he wants.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • General Grumman pulls one off when he deliberately leaks plans for a terrorist attack in Central while the Fuhrer is in the east. If the Fuhrer stays, Central remains exposed for Mustang's coup. If he leaves, his train gets blown up over a ravine.
    • Kimblee pulls one at Briggs where he needs to cause a massacre for Father's plan to proceed. Unable to cause the disaster from within he recruits a hostile army and lays siege. Whichever side wins the battle, the resulting deaths create exactly what Kimblee needs.
  • Fushigi Yuugi's Big Bad Nakago pulls one of these in the middle. After Ashitare's failure to kill Miaka, Nakago sends him after Nuriko as he is about to obtain the Shinzahou. The point was to get Ashitare killed in the attempt, something which Nuriko succeeds doing albeit at the cost of his life. However, unknown to the heroes, only Ashitare's human part died (he is a werewolf), while his wolf part is perfectly intact and was able to get the Shinzahou from them.
  • Gintama, surprisingly enough (then again, maybe it's a parody as well?). The whole Character Popularity Arc? All planned by Yamazaki who was not happy enough that he got 9th place. So he started a war to get all the characters to reduce each other's ranking. Seeing as he wasn't the only one unhappy with his ranking, they almost did it without his help. The outcome of said war would help him either way.
  • In Hunter × Hunter chapter 331, Pariston is revealed to not think of winning, though he does know how to win; neither is he thinking of losing. He's playing around with the election because he saved 5000 Chimera Ants to use as a power base. Each of the Chimera Ants can use nen, the minimum requirement to be a Hunter. Come next Hunter Exam, those 5000 Chimera Ants will become Hunters almost automatically. Once they become Hunters and are added to Pariston's group of Temp Hunters, he'll have majority support and an overpowered standing army. Since according to Article 8 of the Hunter Commandments the Hunter in charge has to have majority support, if Pariston loses this election he can just force the winner out of office and set up another election under more favorable circumstances.
  • In Kill la Kill, Satsuki pulls off a nice one from time to time. She allows Ryuko Matoi to start a fight club, which gives Ryuko power and wealth within the city. Why? Well, the more fights Ryuko wins, the greater social standing she gets. The desire for more power could cause Ryuko to accept Satsuki's dominion over the people, therefore removing a threat. Does her plan fall apart when Ryuko chooses Mako as Fight Club President? Nope, just try to corrupt Mako instead and see if she'll kill Ryuko for you. Sure enough, Mako's desire to provide for her family eventually leads her and Ryuko to have falling out. When Ryuko and Mako make up and disband the fight club, did Satsuki lose? NOPE, Ryuko's fights against the other clubs have already allowed Satsuki to weed through who is not longer "worthy" of the powers she distributes to club presidents. Even better, her analysts had the chance to observe Ryuko more, in preparation for whenever she and Satsuki final clash or rather to have considerable force to Satsuki's impending rebellion against her mother Ragyo. In the end, everything benefited her.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Nanoha and Fate's final battle is one for the Time and Space Administration Bureau. Nanoha's victory or defeat is irrelevant. They would prefer she won (and thereby arrest Fate and recover the Jewel Seeds), but if she doesn't Chrono will step in and finish off the worn-out Fate. If nothing else the battle will allow them to track Precia's location. Of course, things go a bit pear-shaped when Precia herself crashes the party, deciding caution can go to the wayside and just using all the Jewel Seeds in her possession to get to her goal regardless of whether or not it's possible.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • This is a common interpretation of Chao Lingshen's plans; If she wins, magic is revealed to the world and a future disaster is averted. If Negi defeats her...then he's strong enough to avert the disaster himself.
    • Kurt Godel is obviously pulling one of these on Negi, but his ultimate goal is unclear. Although, it seems to have blown up in his face. Mainly because he didn't know Negi had knowledge from the future.
    • And on the villainous side of things, as soon as Dynamis showed up to fight Ala Alba with the Fatettes he had won. Beating them means he wins, losing meant Negi was disabled because of how it was set up, and if neither of those two worked, then Dynamis has still stalled for so long that the other three Averrunci would be awoken, drastically changing the power balance of the two sides.
    • Negi acts as the Spanner in the Works by just being that goddamned awesome.
  • Mazinger Z: Archduke Gorgon agreed to help Dr. Hell to destroy Mazinger-Z with his visibly more powerful Mechanical Beasts. However his true intentions were watching Hell closely and making both sides weakened each other battle after battle until one side won. Then, he would annihilate the weakened victor, and the Great General of Darkness — his real boss — would conquer the surface world without any real opposition. Consequently, he could not lose, not matter how the war between Dr. Hell and Kouji Kabuto ended. Indeed, he was successful: he betrayed Dr. Hell in the worst possible moment, leaving him to die or personally murdering him — depending on the version. Straight after he sent several Mykene Warrior Beasts after Mazinger-Z, and they destroyed the Humongous Mecha. In one single day and from one single stroke he had looked after all his enemies. However, his plan did not cause the expected outcome due to a Spanner in the Works: Kenzo Kabuto and Great Mazinger.
  • Mon Colle Knights: Redda of has a one. he summons Dread Dragon, who traps the real Rockna within its neck, and Redda explains to Mondo that he can either destroy Dread Dragon and take Rockna with it, or get destroyed himself trying to save Rockna without harming the dragon. In the end, Gabriolis comes just in time to help and Rockna is saved anyway, and both heroes fuse with Gabriolis to destroy Dread Dragon. Nevertheless, either way, this still provides enough time of a distraction for Redda to get away and thus, Redda still succeeds in getting all of the Monster Items, which he plans to use to revive Oroboros and destroy everything himself.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the country of Taribia declares its withdrawal from The Union, prompting a military action from America, the community's most powerful member. Taribia intends for Celestial Being to intervene in the conflict against America (who they perceived to have a monopoly over The Union), but the organization instead moves against Taribia, who they designated as the instigators of the conflict. Taribia is forced to return to The Union for America to instruct its forces to aid Taribia in fighting off Celestial Being. However, Taribia's current government is now secured with America's support, and America coming to Taribia's aid quells the anti-American sentiment within the country. It is implied by Ms. Sumeragi's exposition after the mission that Taribia planned this from the beginning, the government wins support from conservatives in their country by taking a hard stance against America but doesn't actually have to suffer the consequences of leaving the Union. They get their cake and eat it because they expected Celestial Being to show up and intercede.
  • Rau Le Creuset from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: everyone dies, he wins; Earth Forces lose, he's with ZAFT — he wins. ZAFT loses, he was The Mole giving info to the Earth Forces — he wins. Kira Yamato kills him — he has Cloning Blues and wants to die anyway, he wins.
  • Haman Karn in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam played with this. No matter who won the Gryps Conflict — AEUG or the Titans — one side would be weak enough for Axis Zeon to move on in and wipe them out.
  • My Hero Academia: All for One perfectly embodies this trope, as seen by multiple parts of the story:
    • When the League of Villains first attacked the USJ, though Nomu was defeated, they managed to leave a mark to the Pros by making the League of Villains known, and All for One got confirmation that All Might was weakening, and had the bonus intel that Izuku Midoria was able to move as fast as All Might, making All for One realizing that One for All was passed down.
    • By approaching Stain and then having Shigaraki try to have a competition with him, it allowed chaos to be ensued, which would allow the League of Villains to form a connection with Stain to the public. Even though Stain was captured, this connection and Stain's charisma allowed every other villain to see the League of Villains as a group that fought for a goal, thus allowing Shigaraki to attain allies.
    • When facing All Might, regardless on the victor, All for One would have attained a form of victory. If he had won and killed All Might, he would have destroyed the symbol of peace in the eyes of the people. If he lost, he managed to at least make it so All Might is no longer a threat to the villains by making him exhaust what was left of One for All, which would in turn cause more villains to rise and society to go into unrest. And by being defeated, Shigaraki's anger and hatred would make him grow even more dangerous now that his teacher was at a place that Shigaraki could no longer reach.
    • Shigaraki is another part of All for One's goals in this trope. Due to Shigaraki being the grandson of Nana Shimura, All Might's mentor and previous holder of One for All, All for One managed to have someone that would hurt All Might one way or another. If Shigaraki succeeds, then All for One is victorious, and All Might will be killed by his mentor's grandchild. But if Shigaraki is defeated, then All Might will know that he failed to save the grandson of his mentor, as regardless of circumstances, Shigaraki was a villain that had to be stopped.
  • Naruto:
    • Itachi attempted this by setting up a few outcomes to protect his brother's innocence and to keep him away from the Big Bad's influences. This doesn't work so much as it goes wrong in the worst possible way. The only thing that goes right for him is that after being revived by Kabuto, he is freed by Chekhov's Crow which he had previously planted in the titular character's body prior to Itachi's imminent death.
    • Also in Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja, Tobi makes one. He sends Naruto and Sakura in alternate universe and to force Naruto fight a battle with Menma and unleash the Kyuubi in order to weaken his seal. If Menma wins he will get Kyuubi but if he loses, it he will take the body Menma and is trying to get Kyuubi on one's own. But if he nevertheless lose, he destroy the illusion so as he in any case performs its main goal: this a field test how the Moon's Eye Plan will work at a basic level.
  • The Prince of Tennis: Atobe also uses one against Tezuka. Instead of just beating Tezuka normally, Atobe draws the match out in order to try to destroy Tezuka's injured shoulder. While that initially appears to be his goal, Fuji reveals that his true plan is to force Tezuka to attack so as to expose his weaknesses. Surprisingly, Tezuka takes on the drawn-out match, fully aware of the consequences.
  • Rave Master: The heroes occasionally use one of these to defeat their enemies' Phlebotinum-powers. In Volume 27, for instance, Action Girl Julia, badly injured, grabs an acid-powered villain and jumps out of the air ship, so that he will plummet to his death. He responds by sneering at her and transforming his body into acid. Julia then taunts him about the stupidity of turning yourself into a liquid substance while falling at terminal velocity.
  • The Story of Saiunkoku:
    • In the first season,Sa Enjun enacts a plot to assassinate Emperor Shi Ryuuki and replace him with his long-lost brother Seien. The second season reveals this to have been a Xanatos Gambit — if it had succeeded, Enjun would have been the power behind the throne and would have finally surpassed Grand Master Shou, but the plot's failure provided the Emperor with a reason to investigate and rectify the corruption of the Sa Clan, exactly as Enjun had hoped.
    • The second season also includes a neatly-constructed Xanatos Gambit on Shuurei's part when she approaches the Merchant's Guild to negotiate for their help in dealing with an outbreak of disease in her province. The Guild is reluctant to have any part of it, and their representatives remain noncommittal until a message arrives from the Emperor commanding them to do the work for free if they have not already reached an agreement; Shuurei pleasantly suggests that she's willing to pretend they'd sorted things out by the time the message got there, if the Guild will give her some extra concessions in return for the favour. The possible results of Shuurei's plan thus break down to 1) she gets what she wants; 2) she gets what she wants plus a little extra; or 3) she still gets what she wants and the Guild doesn't even get paid for it.
  • Slayers NEXT: Phibrizzo has a NICE one, just because of how he uses it. He wants to destroy the world by having Lina use the Giga Slave and lose control over it. To make this happen, he sets her against Gaav. If she uses the Giga Slave and it destroys the world, great. If it doesn't, he'll provoke her himself. If she uses the Ragna Blade instead, Gaav will be weakened enough for Phibrizzo to take him out himself and then he can provoke Lina into using the Giga Slave. Being the Hellmaster he has power and influence enough to make sure she doesn't die until this happens. Lina has no choice but to play right into his hands. Unfortunately, Phibrizzo forgot one thing. Summoning someone more powerful than you is NOT a good idea.
  • Soul Hunter The true goal of the Houshin Project is to procure a large number of souls by harvesting them from deceased people of great power, so they can lend Taikoubou their power in the final battle. Whether Taikoubou’s many other battles result in victory or defeat is irrelevant: so long as SOMEONE dies, and someone always does, the project is working, and there’s a failsafe against his own death in the form of Outenkun.
  • Transformers Victory: Hellbat pulls one towards the end of the series when he suggests that Deathsaurus raise Atlantis to harvest the energy and says it's Leozack's idea. If this plan succeeds, the Decepticons benefit. If it fails, Deathsaurus kills Leozack.
  • Voltes V: A seemingly weak Beast Fighter sent by the Boazanians to fight was in fact designed to unknowingly perform detailed physical scanning on the eponymous Combining Mecha during their fight. The Boazanian's then use the data gathered from the battle to develop a countermeasure for the mecha's Transformation Sequence, which they utilize during the next fight to render the Five-Man Band helpless.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yami Bakura pulls off one of these by secretly keeping part of his being in the Millennium Puzzle, guaranteeing he would have a free ride into the Memory World in the final arc no matter what happened to him. Also, in the anime, even though he ends his duel with Kaiba early, he escapes having strengthened Diabound with the power of the Blue-Eyes.
    • Dartz follows his example. He needs a certain number of souls, so he sends his followers to duel the heroes under the Seal of Orichalchos. Whoever loses each duel forfeits their soul. Since Dartz collects the losses either way it honestly doesn't matter to him who wins, and he admits as much before Jounouchi and Varon's duel.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, the forces of Yliaster repeatedly send robots that attack people and damage property until they are defeated in duels. It doesn't matter to Yliaster who wins. If the robots win, they cripple their opponents and move on until they are defeated. If the robots lose, Yliaster repairs them or sends replacements. Win, Lose, or Draw, every duel releases energy that Yliaster gathers to complete their "Circuit" so they can destroy Neo Domino City.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the manga has one of these at the end: Astral needed all 100 Number cards to seal himself away for eternity and complete his mission, but Yuma refused to hand him over Utopia, the last Number he needed. He challenged him to a duel with said Number on the line. Unfortunately for him, Astral seemed to have already found a way to win even if Yuma defeats him. He summoned a powerful Number that would either crush Yuma and win him Yuma's Number, or leave his partner no other choice than to Overpower it with Utopia, activating in the process its last effect which then allows Astral to take control and hold of Utopia momentarily, which is amply sufficient for him to harness its power.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Sensui had a Xanatos Gambit within a Batman Gambit. He knows the heroes are going to come storm his base to stop him, so he sends Amanuma to face them. Amanuma is an eleven-year-old kid whose special power is to bring video games to life, and Sensui selects one that very clearly kills the antagonist if the heroes win, or the heroes if they give up. Amanuma's powers will make that ending a reality if that's how the game goes, so the heroes conclude that the intent was to stall them; they're stuck until they or Amanuma die. Kurama shoots the dog, but then Sensui reveals the other side of the plan: Koenma was really the only character who had the power to stop him all by himself, and Sensui needed to neutralize him. Since Koenma was the one who hired Sensui as Spirit Detective and sent him on the road to madness anyway, Sensui knows that Koenma feels extensively guilty about the whole affair, and, if the heroes killed Amanuma, he knew Koenma would drain his power to bring Amanuma back to life. Either way, the Makai Tunnel would open.


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